Devolution and Public Policy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Department Name: School of Social Science


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Description We have succeeded in consolidating SPIF and a broader network of academics and practitioners around the theme of public policy in Scotland. There is a comparative dimension to our work, emphasized in the two seminars, covering both the rest of the United Kingdom and other places in Europe and beyond. We have established a common language and trust and it is easier to communicate and exchange ideas. We have also learned how to manage academic-practitioner meetings in various formats.

The main challenges are to sustain the networks in the longer run and to reach beyond the core network, which has been led by officials with experience in the university sector and by academics who are used to working with practitioners. The training seminars are one way of broadening the network and reaching to the senior policy officials of the future. It is intended to continue this and expand it if possible, bringing in outputs from SPIF seminars and other activities as part of the course material.

We are in discussion with my partners in the practitioner world on the format of future activities. One idea is to establish joint working groups to explore issues in a series of meetings over a prolonged period. Another is to encourage SPIF presenters and others to write policy briefs alongside the conventional academic papers, which can then be posted on Scothub.

The presence of non-UK scholars at the two seminars has widened the networks and led to some bilateral contacts and research proposals.
Exploitation Route We have established networks for discussing public policy issues in Scotland.
Sectors Government, Democracy and Justice

Description The focus of this project was on improving links between the academic and practitioner world in the field of public policy. The main challenges here are: • the need to develop a common language and conceptual framework. This requires academics to move beyond the conceptual arguments that have been so prominent in the study of public policy in recent years and to engage with policy issues. The practitioners for their part need to develop conceptual tools and broader frameworks for policy, after a period in which public management has been dominated by performance targets rather than policy analysis; • the application of social science research to the process and substance of public policy; • finding times and places for practitioner-academic interchange; • sustaining links over the long term; • exploring opportunities for policy innovation and learning; • translating academic findings into a language and a format that are accessible to practitioners; • reaching policy-focused practitioners at all levels. We have made progress in all of these.
First Year Of Impact 2005
Sector Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Policy & public services